Winnipeg Police Chief Danny Smyth said Wednesday’s confrontation was the latest in an unprecedented number of armed-and-barricaded situations connected to the highly addictive street drug meth. File photo THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Meth, drug trade fuelling recent spate of violence: Winnipeg police chief

WINNIPEG — Police say a conflict this week in which officers were forced to look for cover as bullets struck their police cruisers in a Winnipeg neighbourhood was linked to a methamphetamine crisis.

Police Chief Danny Smyth said Wednesday’s confrontation was the latest in an unprecedented number of armed-and-barricaded situations connected to the highly addictive street drug.

“Certainly, these crimes are associated to meth and drug use or they are associated to guns and gangs involved with meth and trafficking,” Smyth said Thursday.

Nearby schools were locked down Wednesday and neighbours were told to leave after a suspect with a rifle fired at officers from inside a home. A police armoured vehicle pulled into the area to get officers to safety.

“Some of them were caught in vulnerable positions when the shooting began,” Smyth said.

A 16-year-old was arrested after a five-hour standoff. Police allege the teenager shot up a house on a different street earlier in the day.

Smyth said it was frightening and traumatic for the community and for police who responded.

Earlier in the day, elsewhere in the city police responded after a robbery turned into an armed-and-barricaded situation.

A standoff ended safely last Friday after 12 hours. The week before, there was a standoff in a beer store with an armed suspect who police believe was high on meth.

Manitoba’s health minister has said meth addiction is a complex challenge across Canada.

The Addictions Foundation of Manitoba says meth use has increased by more than 100 per cent in adults and nearly 50 per cent in youth since 2014.

Numbers from Winnipeg’s health authority show there has been a 1,200 per cent rise in people going to hospitals because of methamphetamines — from 12 visits in April 2013 to 218 this pat April.

Police have said the drug is appealing because it’s cheap, readily available and the high can last up to 14 hours.

However, Smyth said the high can come with unpredictable behaviour that can make a situation dangerous.

Officers seized 1 1/2 ounces of meth last week and Smyth said police are watching to see how that will affect the Winnipeg meth market.

“The trafficking itself is a very competitive activity to be involved in … sometimes that leads to violence.”

Just Posted

Canadians to mark Remembrance Day this morning

OTTAWA — Canadians will gather at cenotaphs and monuments across the country… Continue reading

Canada supports genocide case against Myanmar at International Court of Justice

OTTAWA — Canada is supporting a genocide lawsuit against the Myanmar government… Continue reading

Kenney’s plan to advance Alberta’s interest receives mixed reviews

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That’s how Laura feels about… Continue reading

Alberta’s unemployment numbers up in October

The latest jobs report from Statistics Canada’s pegs Alberta’s seasonally adjusted unemployment… Continue reading

Kenney announces ‘Fair Deal Panel’ to advance Alberta’s interests, like pipelines

RED DEER, Alta. — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced the creation of… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Wednesday Pain 101 class — learn to take control of your chronic… Continue reading

Sportsnet cuts ties with Don Cherry in aftermath of poppy controversy

TORONTO — Sportsnet has cut ties with “Hockey Night in Canada” broadcaster… Continue reading

With silence and salutes, Canadians mark Remembrance Day

OTTAWA — Eleven tolls from the Peace Tower filled the air around… Continue reading

Conservatives’ Scheer wants Trudeau to open Parliament Nov. 25

OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is calling on the prime minister… Continue reading

Opinion: Kenney plainly explains why Alberta deserves a fairer deal

By David Marsden It had been expected that Premier Jason Kenney would… Continue reading

Bolivian president learns it’s best to rig votes from the start

“Democracy is in danger in Bolivia as the result of legitimate pressures… Continue reading

Tech companies rush to fight misinformation ahead of UK vote

LONDON — Facebook is opening up a war room to quickly respond… Continue reading

Blue Bombers employ one-two QB punch to advance to CFL West final

CALGARY — Zach Collaros is going back to where he started his… Continue reading

Most Read